Conversations about Psychology and Sexual Orientation

By Janis S. Bohan; Glenda M. Russell et al. | Go to book overview

Introduction
The Conversation Begins

Glenda M. Russell and Janis S. Bohan

The idea for this book grew out of countless conversations between the two of us about psychology's approach to sexual orientation. As we talked about this topic, we found ourselves alternately excited by the possibilities of rethinking sexual orientation and frustrated by the difficulty of doing so. At some point, one of us commented about how much fun and how challenging these conversations were, and the other suggested that they might form the basis for a book. The more we discussed the idea, the more it seemed appropriate to use a conversational format as a way to pursue the topic of psychology and sexual orientation. Our own conversations had left us not only with the certainty that we had no definitive answers but also with a wariness about such answers. It made more sense to approach the topic as an open-ended and ongoing conversation rather than as a treatise that begins with the statement of a problem and ends with a clear resolution.


Format of the Book

The format of this book reflects our belief that a conversational approach is an appropriate method for exploring psychology and sexual orientation. The book is designed on the model of a conversation where ideas are raised by one speaker and others respond with their own thoughts. In the first chapter, the two of us offer some general distinctions between essentialist and social constructionist approaches to sexual orientation. This is a theoretical discussion that anchors the rest of the book; it is one

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